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La Moskita (see pictures)
The day after Thanksgiving, Mikayla and I flew to La Moskitia. It was exciting just to see how excited Mikayla was to walk up the steps into the small plane and play and love on babies the whole time. I couldn’t believe it when I felt gravel on our landing. Sure enough, the plane landed on a dirt runway. Our limo, I mean transportation, was a four wheeler (how cool!). Greeted by missionary friend, Laura, we got our luggage from the tiny airport and were taken to House of Hope.
Send Hope is a ministry that gives hope and aid to the Moskitian people through the House of Hope orphanage (malnourished and special needs children), operations (in Honduras and USA), education at School of Hope, providing supplies, and running teams (www.send-hope.org).
We set up for the seminar that afternoon and I practiced that night’s worship songs. It was an interesting combination of people. Missionaries were sick before the seminar and couldn’t attend, then missionaries got sick and missed the second day, and then missionaries got sick after the seminar. I was thinking that was really odd, but after talking to some missionaries, it seems they are sick frequently. They use a filter on the water and even rinse their dishes in a water/chlorine mixture, but I kept thinking there must be a reason somewhere for it (I began to wonder if it was because they lack proper nutrition such as fruits and vegetables that we take for granted). Mikayla was sick the first night (fever and couldn’t eat) and I was lucky to escape with only a headache one day.
We had 6 or so missionaries in attendance, two missionary teenagers, and two missionary kids (one taking notes for her sick parents). We had a great time. Some of the testimonies from the seminar were:
Mikayla spent her time during the seminar (when not running the projector for worship slides), playing not only with the missionary kids, but the kids at the orphanage. It didn’t take long to have ‘friends’ hanging on each arm.
On Sunday, we visited with missionaries and saw their places of ministry. Marianne had a beautiful house built on the lagoon. Although she does administrative work for House of Hope, she also has a feeding program and school near her house she has started and oversees. We had the best lunch: soup with chicken, potato, and carrots, rice, and fried breadfruit.
Then we drove to see the ‘town’ (a park that goes to the lagoon, one road with some stores, one grocery store, etc.). From there, we went with Laura to Mama Tara’s orphanage (www.mamatara.org) where missionary Linda is serving. Some chickens had just been stolen out of the coop a day ago and one girl had slipped on a piece of wood. Laura determined that she needed to have stitches. So, the adventure began. We drove to House of Hope to see if the nurse could stitch it up. Nope. On our way to the hospital we called another missionary to check if she could do it. Nope. So, we went inside the hospital. Praise God there were no lines on a Sunday. We went to the first window to get the girl’s file. Then, Linda and Saida waited to been seen.
During that time, Laura showed us where she was building her house, where the first school room is, and where Morgan’s feeding program is (Root Ministries, http://rootministry.blogspot.com/). Laura and family, of Reach Out Honduras (www.ReachOutHonduras.org), minister through discipleship, through education (starting a school for middle and high school), and in finding sustainable solutions (planting crops for feeding, etc.). By the time we returned from our trip, the stitches were in and it was time for everyone to go home!
Laura and Cumi Joy came on our flight back to Tegucigalpa and spent three days with us in Santa Lucia. We needed to get a visa photo at the mall, late paperwork at the airport from a judge that flew the paperwork in on a different flight, and then go to immigration for a visa appointment. Laura wanted Cumi (a Moskitian baby she is adopting because the mother died at birth) to go home for the holidays with the family. God moved mightily. Visas are very hard to get. And we moved right through the visa line at the US Embassy and Cumi was granted a 5 year visa (normally they are for the length of the trip!). This was amazing. It was great to be part of this.
Los Encinitos 2012 (see pictures)
I chaperoned two Discovery school students (Katarina and Cata) on another medical/dental brigade to Los Encinitos. Last November I was in registration, last February I cleaned and sterilized the dental tools, and this year I was in medical triage (taking height, weight, blood pressure, and sometimes temperatures and urine tests). Kati, a music/pre med major, worked with me and handled all the blood tests (thank goodness!). Katarina was a translator for the pediatrician. Cata was the translator for the doctor who was seeing adults. DAY 1: We met the team at the airport and loaded up suitcases and supplies for the drive to Los Encinitos. At night we did some set up.
DAY 2: We spent the morning setting up the medical clinic. Then we began to triage patients. I was amazed how much Spanish I understood without knowing all the body or medical terms. Of course, when the patients pointed to their throat, stomach, or head, it helped me figure it out!
DAY 3: I was in triage all day. It was a hard Spanish day, but Kati (a fluent Spanish speaker) said that she did not understand some words too. So, it must have been the area of the mountains these people were from. I had fun watching the kiddos color in the waiting room and played some soccer with some boys at the end of the day.
DAY 4: We saw the most patients this day and the doctors were with patients until about 6pm. Even with the busy-ness, there was a peace among the volunteers and Hondurans waiting. The cutest baby held her arms out to me and let Kat and I hold her.
On Wednesdays, the team hosts an annual party/golf tournament. There are a bunch of American snacks on the table and everyone gets three shots at putting a golf ball into a metal can. Gary had won 3 years in a row, so they brought a special, smaller, can for him this time. He still got a golf ball in! Last year I did not even get one golf ball in. This year, I got two in and tied with another volunteer. Then, in the play-offs I won by getting one more in (out of three tries).
DAY 5: Sometimes we hear people waiting at the gate since 4 or 5 in the morning and that can be after a 2-4 hour walk on terrible roads. Wednesday and Thursday I was also pulled into registration to help pull files, find patient file numbers on the computer, and then file folders from the previous day.
DAY 6: Day started out as usual until a 2 month old baby was sent into the pediatrician as a priority. She had a stuffed up nose, was coughing up phlegm, and had green poop. The family was sick too, but the baby was having trouble breathing. After being given some medication, it was decided that this baby needed to go to the hospital for emergency care. So, a team member drove and asked me to come along with the baby, mom, and dad. We took one of the police officers too since the rental truck did not have a license plate and we didn’t want to be pulled over.
What an experience at third world, ‘free’, health care. We went to pediatric emergency room and went up to a door to explain our situation to a doctor. She said, “Have a seat.” Mind you, there were three rows of moms with their sick babies (emergency care?). Even though we tried to talk our way ahead, the doctor was frustrated (only two doctors working) and did not care about our 2 hour drive. The waiting began, and I don’t know how it happened, but the baby and mom got called third (maybe because of her age). Inside, we explained the situation, the information collected from the brigade, the papers were stapled, and we were sent to wait in another line. From there, a small card with a stamp was received. All the while, I am asking if the mom wants the husband to go with her and she says ‘no’ and looks at me like, “You better be coming with me.” Now mind you, I have scrubs on from the brigade – so everyone thinks I’m a doctor (jajajajaja).
I looked around the room and asked the team member that drove us, “Look around the room. Do you see any other men? Maybe it is not ‘cool’ for the husband to be here with her?” Then, I’m receiving a phone call that we (team member, police officer, and I) are supposed to just drop them off and leave. But that mom’s name was called to enter again and she looked at me like, “You better go in there with me.” I followed her in and through some hallways to a room filled with beds along the walls – with sick children everywhere – and 5 doctors in the middle (seeming to do nothing). The mom is asked to take a seat when a tear rolls down her cheek. I tell her, don’t worry, they need to write everything down. I’m really thinking, “Hondurans love their paperwork and does anyone work here?” Finally a doctor grabs the paperwork, calls us over, and a bed is found for the baby. No sheets are changed for the bed. No pleasantries… until the doctor notices the tears and says, “Don’t worry, you’re in the hospital. Everthing’s going to be okay.” I was glad the doctor acknowledged her, but I was not sure about the ‘okay’ part.
The brigade gave the family L500 ($25) for food and bus ride back to the mountains and I had to tell the mom good-bye, that we had to go back to the brigade. I told her I was praying for their family and the baby. I found her husband and showed him where she was. I’m sure the hospital and the city of Tegucigalpa looked like a zoo compared to their small town in the mountains.
DAY 7: The brigade was done, so it was time to pack up and head out. Some of the team went to a small town to bring medical supplies, part of the team went straight to the hotel and some went to the Valley of Angels. I brought Katarina home to sleep (she wasn’t feeling well) and brought Mikayla down to the Valley so her teeth could be checked out by an orthodontist. Turns out, Mikayla is a candidate for having two teeth removed and so I will pass that along to our orthodontist here. That night, Katarina and I met the team for a dinner in Tegucigalpa. One of the doctors called the husband of the baby in the hospital and they were still there: the baby was having a series of tests run.
On Saturday, I wanted to visit the baby and family, but we did not know where they moved them to in the hospital. Once we find out, then I might be able to get permission to go in and check on them. Otherwise, I will just keep on trying by phone.
Answer the Call Ministries
Answer the Call